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State Fire Marshal rules two Westside fires suspicious

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Updated: 10/22/2013 8:19 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The state fire marshal is calling two fires in the Westside that happened less than a month apart suspicious. 

The latest blaze wiped out an almost-completed hotel crews were building in the 6900 block of 103rd Street. According to the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department, the call came in around 3:30 a.m. Saturday. When firefighters arrived at the multiple-story structure, it was fully engulfed in flames.

The site is a construction site for a new ValuePlace Extended Stay Lodging that was supposed to open in February 2014.

Takoyia Hudnell lives behind the construction zone. She said fire crews blocked the entry to her apartment complex for hours. 

"I looked out the window, I stay on the top floor, and I just saw the flames. It looked like a sunset. There was smoke everywhere," said Hudnell.

Nearly a month ago, fire crews put out another early-morning fire that destroyed a school building at Epiphany Episcopal Church. That building is within feet of Saturday morning's fire. 

According to JFRD, about 70 firefighters worked both fires.

The state fire marshal said there is no evidence the two are linked but they're calling both fires suspicious.

If you have any information you're asked to call the state fire marshal tip line 877-NO-ARSON. If the fires are determined to be arson and your tip leads to an arrest, you could be eligible for a reward of up to $5,000.

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